August 4, 2021 – None of us expected that 2020 would bring a pandemic that would disrupt our daily lives and shift working conditions to the home environment. A new crisis, increasing unemployment, health and mental well-being becoming more important than ever before, and future uncertainty has added a different dynamic to the relationship between employees and employers.
“Instead of the old style of a hierarchical system, new leaders have the responsibility towards creating a positive change within their organization, caring for the people and world together, and thinking beyond financial goals,” said Umran Beba, partner at New York City-based executive recruitment firm August Leadership. “New world leadership is defined with skills such as change agility, adaptive mindset, being a data-based strategist, having a global perspective, having the curiosity to continuously learn with purpose, having and showing empathy, and believing in the power of many.”
The first attribute of new world leadership comes from change agility and an adaptive mindset. One of the aspects of building adaptive mindsets is through adapting to the fast pace of technological changes, said the report. Ms. Beba cites the book The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, who says that these new technologies will impact all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenge our ideas about what it means to be human.
Agility is Vital
“According to the Mercer Report, published in 2020 as ‘Global Leadership Trends.’ one of the most important components of a leader that creates value is being able to change easily, find solutions quickly and adapt to the new reality smoothly,” said August Leadership. “Also, the change of location and displacement of global production centers, political and commercial upheavals between countries, inflation, devaluation and adverse effects on purchasing power, and natural disasters caused by climate change are some of the other main reasons pushing for a quick adaptation.”
The new world leader is also a data-based strategist, said August Leadership. Having relevant data and making plans according to data insights increases efficiency and creates a quick response to the change in behaviors, attributes and expectations of consumers, customers, investors and employees. “Being an insights-driven leader helps to create better solutions much faster than depending on intuition or circumstances,” said the report.
Creating global relations and connections is the third factor that contributes to the new world leadership. “It is vital to gain new knowledge and skills, acquire certifications to keep up to date, to be a leader that adds value with reading and expanding vision on different subjects outside of their field,” said the search firm. “In this component, the Mercer Report adds the importance of organizations offering training to employees to help them gain new diverse skills without necessarily needing to find new employees for a new job every day.”
An Evolving Relationship
Furthermore, the relationship between the employer and employee is evolving continuously with the need for transparency and authenticity. August Leadership points to research by the Center for Creative Leadership, which said “empathic emotion as rated from the leader’s subordinates positively predicts job performance ratings from the leader’s boss.” After analyzing data from 6,731 managers from 38 countries, the Center for Creative Leadership’s research states that empathetic emotions of the leader increase the job performance, though this relationship is stronger in developed countries and cultures more than the others such as New Zealand and Hong Kong.
Five Leadership Attributes Essential for 2021 and Beyond
Digital and non-digital businesses are seeing a convergence of skills for their leaders, says a new report by NGS Global. Constant innovation and product evolution, the need for agile work practices and the ability to chunk major developments into modular approaches are increasingly essential, as is a comfort with rapid teaming and cross-disciplinary ways of working.
“The new world leader does not only value his or her own time but also thinks of the organization at every step, with the downfalls and rises, the leader makes everyone feel as a part of the bigger picture and vision,” said August Leadership. “To sum up, the new world leadership is about having an adaptive mindset and creating solutions to stay ahead of change, collecting and using the necessary data for better solutions, having a global perspective and connecting with people worldwide, having a curiosity to learn more every day, having and showing empathy, and believing in the power of teamwork.”
Big Picture Perspective
August Leadership changed its name from Ward Howell USA last year. “The purpose of the rebrand was to break from traditional roots, which we will always appreciate and respect, and point the firm to true north in terms of optimizing relevance in today’s marketplace,” Ken Greger, partner in the firm’s travel and hospitality practice, told Hotel Business. “This also allows us to continue being strategic advisors to our clients from a big picture perspective, vs. just an industry silo, and add real value. Ultimately, these attributes aren’t found in a name alone—it has to be in the mindset and culture of the firm. Our rebranding is a statement to that effect.”
“The word ‘August’ conveys someone who is respected, dignified and impressive,” said Asad Haider, founder and CEO of the firm. “Our clients tell us that we deliver ‘August’ leaders, focusing on relationships rather than transactions. We’re doing our life’s work to help our clients do theirs.”
Following the rebranding, August Leadership opened new offices and expanded with additional partners. In addition to a London office, the firm also expanded into Shanghai.
Ms. Beba is an experienced senior business executive with general management, talent and diversity background. She has close to 35 years of experience in the consumer goods industry, during which she served 25 years with PepsiCo in four different locations (Istanbul, Hong Kong, Dubai and New York.) Forbes magazine once named her among “the greatest living business minds of Turkey.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media